When my son was about 9-months-old someone asked, “So, when do you think you'll have another?” With a look on my face which matched that of my vagina recoiling in horror, I burst out, “NEVER!” I have a sister. My husband is one of five. No one had to waste their breath extolling the virtues of siblings to me. I got it. It's good for children to have a playmate. They grow up more grounded by having the notion the world doesn't revolve around them. One more person to rotate shifts once you're in an old folk’s home. All good reasons. Yet none erased the PTSD of a skull emerging from my nether regions, or the exhaustion of hours logged as a human pacifier. For four solid years I maintained my single child ground. Just for fun I posed the question to my son, “Would you ever want a brother or sister?” Without hesitation he replied, “Nope! I just want to hang out. All by myself.” Glad we're on the same page, buddy.
It was about that time that my sister in law had her first child. A beautiful little boy with skin the color of sweet milk chocolate and soulful brown eyes that locked yours and tripped your breath. We cared for him one afternoon while his mama took a break. I wasted no time unearthing the leopard print sling I had carted my son in, a boy who now fancied himself too old for hand holding (unless crossing the street) and turned up his nose at his once cherished “babyish” Yo Gabba Gabba cd in favor of a (short lived and now vehemently denied) love affair with Justin Bieber. Snuggling his warm little body was like that last dose of sunshine that melts the April snow. The snow in this case being my uterus.
Suddenly the world seemed populated by roving herds of adorable babies. Just wandering around in packs taunting me with their dimpled knuckles cooing, “Don't you want one of us? Come a little closer. Feel how soft I am. Just one little pet. How could it hurt?” A set of pigtails could knock me out cold. As the desire grew, so too did my ability outweigh the fear of labor with the end result of a delicious baby. Additionally, I had spent the last four years developing skills that I was proud to say I was GOOD at. I could breastfeed while grocery shopping. Change nuclear disaster-esque diaper explosions in the dark while half asleep. Rock a baby to sleep with one arm and cook dinner with the other (ok, calling a box of mac and cheese dinner is generous, but still.)
With all that hard work under my belt, why not put it to use again? Perhaps even improve upon it? Several months later, I was pregnant with my second child. We chose to go the same route as we had the first time and didn't find out the gender. As we pulled into the hospital parking lot for a week early induction, leaving my plans of a repeat uneventful home birth in the dust, I said to my husband, “It's a girl. I know it. And she's very dramatic.”
A day and half later, we loaded our daughter into the car to head for home. Snuggled on the couch safe in her brother's lap as a late summer Hurricane stirring in the Atlantic whipped the trees all the way in Vermont, I sighed. The love he instantly had for her made my heart ache in beautiful ways I'd never knew existed. It was pure and instinctive and perfect. And I'm sure in fifty years they'll be arguing over who has to pick up mom's polident.
Love Sara as much as we do? Keep on reading!